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Yom Kippur - "not conditioned on anything"?

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  • Yom Kippur - "not conditioned on anything"?

    In another thread, NORM posted a comment that goes against everything (very little, I admit) I understood about Yom Kippur:

    Originally posted by NormATive
    I just finished reading this entire thread. A couple of observations:

    1. I think there is support for Mickiel's proposition on universal salvation. Christians claim that it is the fulfillment of Judaism. Well, in Judaism, we believe that G-d forgives sins completely and without condition. Yom Kippur is a service we have every year just after New Year in which G-d forgives our corporate sins - those intentional and unintentional toward G-d. It is not conditioned on anything - G-d simply promises to forgive. We repent of our sins after the fact. This is why the atonement theories in Christianity make no sense to us Jews. There is no need to do anything to receive G-d's forgiveness, so therefore; there is nothing from which to be saved.

    NORM
    In trying to understand this, I looked at some Jewish sources, and found, among others, this...

    Source: Jdaism 101


    Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.

    The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

    As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

    © Copyright Original Source



    It doesn't seem that Yom Kippur is an event where "It is not conditioned on anything".
    Last edited by Cow Poke; 03-19-2014, 12:13 PM.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    and what if you die before the next Yom Kippur? Or if you are not Jewish?

    Comment


    • #3
      Also, in Lev 23, where it is supposed to come from:

      26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day.

      That doesn't sound like universalism to me. Sounds pretty conditional.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had questions along the same lines:

        Originally posted by NormATive
        I just finished reading this entire thread. A couple of observations:

        1. I think there is support for Mickiel's proposition on universal salvation. Christians claim that it is the fulfillment of Judaism. Well, in Judaism, we believe that G-d forgives sins completely and without condition. Yom Kippur is a service we have every year just after New Year in which G-d forgives our corporate sins - those intentional and unintentional toward G-d. It is not conditioned on anything - G-d simply promises to forgive. We repent of our sins after the fact. This is why the atonement theories in Christianity make no sense to us Jews. There is no need to do anything to receive G-d's forgiveness, so therefore; there is nothing from which to be saved.
        Doesn't the Talmud say that "Yom Kippur atones for those who repent, and does not atone for those who do not repent"? It would seem, at least for some Jews, to be more than a ceremony celebrating some universal forgiveness/atonement, but to actually be a means by which sins are forgiven only upon conditions of participation and of sincere repentance. This fits with the text of Leviticus 16, which describes the Yom Kippur scapegoat as actually carrying off the sins of the people into the wilderness, so that the people are cleansed thereby. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, God explains that the Yom kippur rituals prefigured the propitiating work of Jesus:

        Source: Hebrews 9

        Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

        These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

        But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

        Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

        © Copyright Original Source

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

          It doesn't seem that Yom Kippur is an event where "It is not conditioned on anything".
          Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.

          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          What am I missing? It really doesn't look like a "It is not conditioned on anything" situation.
          You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

          The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

          כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
          so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
          Cow Poke, I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.

          Adin Steinsaltz' Essential Talmud (sorry, it's not available online) has the best explanation for non-Jews that I can recommend. You will not find much in-depth insight into Judaism on the Internet. That's not how we roll. We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason! The ultra-orthodox have a "thing" about non-Jews using the words of the Tanakh and Talmud out of context.

          Judaism 101 is an OK source, but its intent is to not make Judaism seem so silly (and complicated) to young people. Unfortunately, it is complicated.

          Sorry.

          NORM
          When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NormATive View Post
            The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

            כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
            so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
            I haven't seen any Christian try to frame their position in terms of God needing our repentance in some existential sense. However, he does command our repentance and obedience, and even makes them conditions of our forgiveness in the very Psalm from which you quoted only two lines. Here is a larger section so that you can see what kind of person is in the "us" whose transgressions are removed.

            Source: Psalm 103:10-18

            He does not deal with us according to our sins,
            nor repay us according to our iniquities.
            11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
            so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
            12 as far as the east is from the west,
            so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
            13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
            so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
            14 For he knows our frame;
            he remembers that we are dust.
            15 As for man, his days are like grass;
            he flourishes like a flower of the field;
            16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
            and its place knows it no more.
            17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
            and his righteousness to children's children,
            18 to those who keep his covenant
            and remember to do his commandments.

            © Copyright Original Source



            The natural inference from this repeated limiting of the text is that those who do not fear God, keep his covenant, and remember to do his command should have no expectation that their sins will be removed from them, or that they will ultimately be objects of God's compassion. I'm sure you are aware that the bit about God's "steadfast love" appears repeatedly in the Bible in contexts distinguishing between those who enjoy God's mercy and those who do not:

            Source: Exodus 34:6-7

            “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

            © Copyright Original Source



            Very similar sentiments appear a dozen times throughout the Old Testament. Some receive forgiveness, and some do not, and God graciously does not leave us guessing how we can be on the right side of that equation.
            Last edited by RBerman; 03-19-2014, 11:46 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NormATive View Post
              Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.
              As thread starter, I would ask that the moderators allow NORM to post here as long as he is presenting his understanding of Jewishness. I apologize that I didn't ask this PRIOR to starting the thread, and will endeavor to do better in the future.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.


                You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

                The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

                כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
                so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
                Cow Poke, I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.

                Adin Steinsaltz' Essential Talmud (sorry, it's not available online) has the best explanation for non-Jews that I can recommend. You will not find much in-depth insight into Judaism on the Internet. That's not how we roll. We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason! The ultra-orthodox have a "thing" about non-Jews using the words of the Tanakh and Talmud out of context.

                Judaism 101 is an OK source, but its intent is to not make Judaism seem so silly (and complicated) to young people. Unfortunately, it is complicated.

                Sorry.

                NORM
                I hope this is not too off topic, but it might help readers to know your background in Judaism. From what I've been able to glean from other posts on this forum, you were raised in a Christian (Catholic?) family. In adulthood you found out that your mom was part ethnically Jewish, so you decided to convert to Judaism, and remained in the faith for 15 years. At some point recently you became an atheist, though you still go to Temple and view yourself as ethnically, though not religiously Jewish. Is that correct or am I totally off base?
                Last edited by OingoBoingo; 03-20-2014, 08:03 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by OingoBoingo View Post
                  I hope this is not too off topic, but it might help readers to know your background in Judaism. From what I've been able to glean from other posts on this forum, you were raised in a Christian (Catholic?) family. In adulthood you found out that your mom was part ethnically Jewish, so you decided to convert to Judaism, and remained in the faith for 15 years. At some point recently you became an atheist, though you still go to Temple and view yourself as ethnically, though not religiously Jewish. Is that correct or am I totally off base?
                  Very good, OingoBoingo! The only thing you missed is that I was raised in a Baptist Christian family. And, it has only been about 8 years since converting to Judaism. I'm not THAT old!

                  BTW, I am non-theist, not atheist. There is a difference. I do not "know" there is no G-d. I'm just more convinced there isn't than that there is, and life gets along just fine without a deity.

                  Also, I find value in the secular side of religious philosophy. The moral ideas taught by Hillel and Jesus are examples that come to mind. Again, belief in theism is not necessary to take advantage of these philosophies.

                  NORM
                  When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                    I haven't seen any Christian try to frame their position in terms of God needing our repentance in some existential sense. However, he does command our repentance and obedience, and even makes them conditions of our forgiveness in the very Psalm from which you quoted only two lines. Here is a larger section so that you can see what kind of person is in the "us" whose transgressions are removed.

                    Source: Psalm 103:10-18

                    He does not deal with us according to our sins,
                    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
                    11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
                    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
                    12 as far as the east is from the west,
                    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
                    13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
                    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
                    14 For he knows our frame;
                    he remembers that we are dust.
                    15 As for man, his days are like grass;
                    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
                    16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
                    and its place knows it no more.
                    17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
                    and his righteousness to children's children,
                    18 to those who keep his covenant
                    and remember to do his commandments.

                    © Copyright Original Source


                    You've done this before, as I recall. You read scripture from a Christian perspective - with western eyes. The words you have bolded are adjectival phrases, not conditions. If you read it in the original Hebrew, you would easily see this. "Those who keep his covenant" is a very popular phrase throughout the Tanakh that DESCRIBES the Jewish people. You commit the same errors with Isaiah 53, by imposing the Christian understanding of the suffering servant (Israel) upon the one man; Jesus.





                    Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                    The natural inference from this repeated limiting of the text is that those who do not fear God, keep his covenant, and remember to do his command should have no expectation that their sins will be removed from them
                    And yet, we are instructed, G-d does just that - faithfully.


                    Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                    Very similar sentiments appear a dozen times throughout the Old Testament. Some receive forgiveness, and some do not, and God graciously does not leave us guessing how we can be on the right side of that equation.
                    This is where having a document like the Talmud is superior to reliance on scripture alone. The Tanakh, if you read it chronologically, clearly shows an evolution in how we view G-d. It is important to realize that the Tanakh is man's idea of who and what G-d is.

                    I say this realizing that there is a rather small ultra orthodox community within Judaism who read the Tanakh literally, and do not agree with some of our Reformed theology. These are the "fundamentalists" of our faith. Every religious community is plagued with those!

                    NORM
                    When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                      Very good, OingoBoingo! The only thing you missed is that I was raised in a Baptist Christian family. And, it has only been about 8 years since converting to Judaism. I'm not THAT old!

                      BTW, I am non-theist, not atheist. There is a difference. I do not "know" there is no G-d. I'm just more convinced there isn't than that there is, and life gets along just fine without a deity.

                      Also, I find value in the secular side of religious philosophy. The moral ideas taught by Hillel and Jesus are examples that come to mind. Again, belief in theism is not necessary to take advantage of these philosophies.

                      NORM
                      Oh okay. Glad I got all of the pertinent details. I was in a similar situation finding out about my Jewish heritage on my mother's side. I've been to synagogue, and am fascinated with ancient Jewish history, but never converted.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OingoBoingo View Post
                        Oh okay. Glad I got all of the pertinent details. I was in a similar situation finding out about my Jewish heritage on my mother's side. I've been to synagogue, and am fascinated with ancient Jewish history, but never converted.
                        The good news is that if you do decide to convert, since your heritage is on your mother's side (as is mine), you don't have to - you know; ... snip!

                        Learning Hebrew was the most difficult part for me.

                        NORM
                        When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                          You've done this before, as I recall. You read scripture from a Christian perspective - with western eyes. The words you have bolded are adjectival phrases, not conditions. If you read it in the original Hebrew, you would easily see this. "Those who keep his covenant" is a very popular phrase throughout the Tanakh that DESCRIBES the Jewish people. You commit the same errors with Isaiah 53, by imposing the Christian understanding of the suffering servant (Israel) upon the one man; Jesus.
                          I would certainly read Isaiah 53 in light of God's revelation of Jesus in the New Testament. Adjectival phrases are conditions which apply to the object they modify. A red ball is in the condition of being red. Those who keep the covenant are in the condition of being covenant-keepers, and the text says that they are the ones who are forgiven. You are of course correct that Psalm 103 in its original context has the Jewish people in mind, to the extent that they kept the covenant which God made with them through their Father Abraham. Mind you, God speaks in Hosea 6:7 of Jewish people who have broken the covenant rather than keeping it, so it's not as if keeping the covenant is simply a matter of birthright. It's a matter of faithfulness. And even if it were a matter of birthright, Psalm 103 would not be a promise that God forgives the sins of those who live outside of His covenant people.

                          And yet, we are instructed, G-d does just that - faithfully.
                          You may believe it to be true that God forgives those who do not keep his covenant, but you have not shown that the Bible teaches such a thing.

                          This is where having a document like the Talmud is superior to reliance on scripture alone. The Tanakh, if you read it chronologically, clearly shows an evolution in how we view G-d. It is important to realize that the Tanakh is man's idea of who and what G-d is. I say this realizing that there is a rather small ultra orthodox community within Judaism who read the Tanakh literally, and do not agree with some of our Reformed theology. These are the "fundamentalists" of our faith. Every religious community is plagued with those!
                          It sounds to me like operationally, the Talmud supplants the Scriptures for you. I do not doubt that such an approach results in deviation from what the Bible teaches in and of itself; we probably differ as to whether a positive term like "evolve" is appropriate to describe the Talmud's variance from the Bible. Christians do not believe the Tanakh to be merely man's opinions about God, but rather God's self-revelation, through his prophets, of what He is about, and what we are like as well. I do not doubt that you are correct that modern Judaism has a universalist bent, but it does so despite what the Bible says on the matter, not because of it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I mean, even the covenant of the Promised Land was conditioned on obedience to God. There is a whole list of blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28 based on whether or not Israel would follow God as they had agreed to do. I don't see why God would treat us in the afterlife in a way that does not resemble what He has done for us in our earthly lives. Or, for that matter based on His justice.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                              Christians do not believe the Tanakh to be merely man's opinions about God, but rather God's self-revelation, through his prophets, of what He is about, and what we are like as well. I do not doubt that you are correct that modern Judaism has a universalist bent, but it does so despite what the Bible says on the matter, not because of it.
                              Precisely why we do not rely on the Tanakh alone. The ultra orthodox (our version of your fundamentalists) believe the Tanakh is superior to the Talmud, and many interpret it literally.

                              You are like our fundamentalists in your approach to the Bible. It is a book that does not evolve along with humanity, and you are OK with that.

                              NORM
                              When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                              Comment

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